My Month in Media | April 2018

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WHAT I WATCHED

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Summer movie season is upon us, boys and girls! Cue the mad influx of trailers, increased popcorn intake and hot summer days spent in chilly, dark theaters. For blockbuster film fans, summer is our football season, and nothing could have kicked it off more spectacularly than Avengers: Infinity War. A culmination of 10 painstaking years worth of storytelling, this movie, while well-written, well-acted and beautifully made, matters for one reason alone: we care about these characters. With this film, I believe Marvel has had the final word on whether their slow-burn approach to storytelling or the front-loaded, pulling-out-all-the-stops method attempted by DC Comics in building their film universe was the better choice. 

By giving us the time to grow ever more attached to D-list comic book characters like a talking tree and a man in a flying suit of armor, Marvel built a world populated with characters whose wellbeing and relationships matter deeply to audiences. And by audiences, I mean "pretty much everyone" as it scored the biggest domestic opening weekend of all time. The writers didn't have to waste time reintroducing us to characters and plot points. Instead, they dropped us directly in the middle of what may end up being the wildest ride of not only the summer but the entire year. 

 

WHAT I READ

Oh my gosh. If I were in the business of handing out senior superlatives, this book would have just earned the title of "Most Surprising" and "Most Likely To Predict The Dang Future (But, For The Sake Of Humanity, I Sincerely Hope Not)." I don't know if y'all have heard, but Twilight isn't representative of young adult literature as a whole. Despite finding its home in the Young Adult section of Barnes & Noble, this book is some of the most affecting work I've read in a while.

Set in a seemingly-utopian future in which humanity has conquered war, unhappiness and even death, Scythe is the story of two teens who are chosen to apprentice under a Scythe whose responsibility it is to end life. Because people no longer die naturally, and can even be revived if they are rendered "deadish," the job of choosing who lives and who dies falls to other upstanding humans. But when corruption enters the Scythedom, things get real scary real fast. 

I know, I know, what a bright ray of sunshine this book is! But there actually is fun to be had here, and while the subject matter can be dark, the introspection that comes along with it is incredible. The main characters Citra and Rowan are incredibly engaging, as is the surrounding cast of characters, but what most fascinated me were the ideas explored about what humanity becomes if we no longer experience suffering, conflict and mortality. The world building, done by author Neal Shusterman, is remarkable, and as I've just finished book two in the series, I can assure you, it just gets even richer more exciting and is well-worth a read.

 

WHAT I LISTENED TO

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I warned you that I was hopelessly addicted to podcasts, as my poor husband has found out on many a road trip, and this month's big discovery for my ear holes was yet another to add to my ever-growing collection. If you're a fan of theme parks, thrill rides and the terrifyingly giant turkey legs that are a personal theme park staple of mine, then Podcast: The Ride is the podcast for you. As the hosts of the show say, it is, simply put, "a show about theme parks hosted by three childless men in their thirties." 

The chemistry between the hosts, Mike Carlson, Jason Sheridan and Scott Gairdner, makes this show worth a listen all on its own, filling each episode with tongue-in-cheek commentary and just the right amount of self-deprecating humor. But what keeps me coming back for more is their incredibly in-depth knowledge about all things Disney, Universal and beyond. Each episode features a particular park or ride, giving a comprehensive history lesson and entertaining backstory. My favorite episode so far is April 13th's episode on Universal Studio's Cat in the Hat ride that, while spending a lot of time on the ride itself, actually spends a good portion on guest Jenny Nicholson's experiences working in Disneyland. For fans of theme parks, this podcast is not one to miss!

 

COMING UP THIS MONTH...

Movies are coming in hot this summer season, and this month I have my sights set squarely on Deadpool and Solo: A Star Wars Story. I also recently dove headfirst into a biography of Audrey Hepburn that already has me hooked by page 40, and I'm very excited to read the first book in Victoria Aveyard's series Red Queen, but what has me most intrigued at the moment are the absurdly well-written articles inside New York Magazine. Check back next month to find out what stood out in the month of May.